‘Organ donors save lives and help create more’

At the Mater Hospital in Dublin yesterday was Patrick Barry, Ireland's youngest heart transplant recipient, with his two children, Lucy, 5, and Emily, 1. Pictures: Gareth Chaney

Ireland’s youngest ever heart transplant recipient, now a father of two, says organ donors are not just saving one life, they are helping to create ones.

Patrick Barry, 33, from Tallaght, Dublin, was just 11 when he received his heart transplant in December 1993.

Patrick said his medical miracle led to two more — the birth of his daughters, Lucy and Emily.

He and his family were at the Mater Hospital in Dublin yesterday to celebrate 30 years of transplantation.

Patrick said organ donors only saw themselves saving one life, but they were actually doing so much more. “If I hadn’t been given that heart my daughters would never have been born,” he said. “So you’re not only saving one life, you’re helping to create ones.”


Patrick was a very sick child, weighing just four stone, when he underwent a heart transplant in December 1993. He had been taken to the family doctor with what was thought to be a 24-hour bug. In hospital, it was later discovered that his heart had doubled in size.

‘Organ donors save lives and help create more’

Kate Kavanagh, who underwent a double lung transplant last July. Pictures: Gareth Chaney

Patrick was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy in October 1993 and his surgeon feared that he would not see Christmas.

Also at the event was Kate Kavanagh, 27, from Barna, Co Galway, who underwent a double lung transplant at the hospital in July last year.

Kate was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and a lung transplant was inevitable at some point in her life.

In 2013, Kate’s health began to deteriorate and she spent 30 weeks in hospital. A year after going on the transplant list she got a new lease of life. “I am forever indebted to my donor family; through their selfless act they have given me new life, new hope, and a second chance at living,” she said.

The Mater Hospital’s heart transplant programme started in 1985 and its lung transplant programme commenced in 2005. Over the years, 330 heart transplants and 130 lung transplants have been performed at the hospital.



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